The 12 Best Restaurants in Toronto for Any Romantic Occasion

Minami | Credit: Derek Shapton

Whether it’s your first date or your 10th wedding anniversary, if food is your beau’s love language, there’s no better way to celebrate l’amour than dinner at a romantic restaurant. For some couples, that might mean classic, white-tablecloth dining with beautiful wines and exceptional service. Others fall head over heels for chef-driven restaurants with artful tasting menus or hip hotspots where the buzzy ambiance encourages you to lean in close for intimate conversations. 

Fortunately, when it’s time to turn on the romance and go all out in honour of date night, Toronto has a restaurant for every kind of mood, pair, and occasion. With memorable meals and atmospheres that impress, these restaurants can set the scene for wooing a new crush or wining and dining your significant other. Treat yourself and your partner to some of the city’s most swoon-worthy culinary offerings at these romantic Toronto restaurants.

Osteria Giulia (Yorkville)

The follow-up to chef Rob Rossi and restaurateur David Minicucci’s critically acclaimed restaurant Giulietta is every bit as alluring as its predecessor. Osteria Giulia’s northern Italian dishes, such as handmade ricotta and egg yolk raviolo tossed in brown butter and black truffle or caviar-kissed burrata, are fresh, simple, and sophisticated. Don’t skip the exquisite desserts, which include a delicate millefoglie pastry layered with pistachio and raspberry cream.

Dining in the restaurant: The restaurant’s minimalist interior is an extension of the menu’s refined touch. All clean lines and neutral colours, the setting is a dream for couples who go giddy over a Scandi-style aesthetic, featuring blond oak tables, Italian limestone accents, and a wood-panelled bar. 

Takeout: This restaurant does not offer takeout.

Minami (Entertainment District)

Credit: Minami | Derek Shapton

The fourth Toronto location for the Aburi Restaurants group offers the signature flame-seared sushi after which the brand is named. And while sushi may be Aburi Restaurants’s claim to fame, Minami does an equally stellar job with its Japanese-style seafood, meat, and veggie mains, including a buttery, shareworthy wagyu that’s served on a sizzling stone hot plate alongside black garlic miso, truffle kimizu, and seasonal vegetables. Couples can also choose from the restaurant’s experience tasting menus that highlight its diverse land and sea offerings, as well as its top-notch European-influenced desserts.

Dining in the restaurant: Minami’s stunning interior, which features illuminated arched screens made from glazed fabrics and a mural by Japanese painter Hideki Kimura, took home multiple wins at the 2021 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards.

Takeout: Much of the menu is available for delivery and takeout, including pre-mixed cocktails and an elaborate sushi platter for two. 

Grey Gardens (Kensington Market)

This Kensington Market wine bar-cum-restaurant from well-known Toronto restaurateur Jen Agg features an outstanding wine list that makes for an indulgent evening. Grey Gardens’s wines will wow enthusiasts, but the restaurant is also approachable for newbies thanks to the menu’s straightforward tasting notes. The food menu is divided into shareable plates, such as beef carpaccio and shrimp cocktail, plus heartier noodle dishes diners can linger over, like ricotta gnudi and a standout ravioli.  

Dining in the restaurant: Agg is known for her knack for vibe curation, and Grey Gardens is no exception with its artfully vintage design. The front bar area is reserved for walk-ins, while reservations are available in the cozy, 30-seat main dining room, which features a buzzy open kitchen that further enhances the atmosphere.

Takeout: The restaurant’s five-course takeout menu is available for order from Wednesday to Saturday. 

Experiences: Check out the special experiences available at this restaurant: Valentine’s Day menu. Book the Experience here.

Auberge Du Pommier (North York)

Credit: Auberge Du Pommier

Open since 1987, Auberge Du Pommier continues to prove that it’s worth the trip to north Toronto. Specializing in modern French fare, the restaurant is classic fine dining at its best. Over the years, some of the city’s best chefs have passed through this landmark spot, so there’s always something new and inventive, sure to impress even the choosiest date, on the seasonal menu. Current chef de cuisine Tim Schulte puts an emphasis on fresh ingredients and playful textures. The a la carte menu — which features dishes such as bacon-wrapped tenderloin with truffle croquettes and poached pickerel roulade with vermouth sauce — is excellent, and the multi-course tasting menu is well-worth the splurge.

Dining in the restaurant: Set in a connected pair of 19th-century cottages, Auberge du Pommier brings timeless date night vibes, complete with white tablecloths and candlelight.

Takeout: This restaurant does not offer takeout.

Chadon Beni (West Queen West)

At Chadon Beni, Trinidadian chef Ross Milne brings his own unique flair to Caribbean-influenced fare. The rotating small plates menu features dishes with big, vibrant flavours such as wild boar sliders with bacon and pineapple, or clam fritters with tamarind and mango chutney. Many dishes incorporate the restaurant’s namesake herb, a citrus-flavoured ingredient commonly used in Caribbean cooking. Rum is the focus of the cocktail menu, with drinks like the Trini rum punch, a white rum, orange-pineapple, soda, bitters, lime, and nutmeg concoction that helps set the tropical vacation mood. 

Dining in the restaurant: The restaurant’s relaxed Queen West space gives off a dreamy beachfront getaway vibe with rustic wood decor and a colourful hand-painted mural, and a heated patio adds to the far-flung feel.

Takeout: The full menu is available for delivery and takeout. 

Alma (Bloordale Village)

Chef-owner Anna Chen’s inviting Bloordale restaurant combines inspiration from her Hakka Chinese and Indian roots with her culinary training in Italian and French kitchens. The menu is thoughtful, seasonal, and ever-changing, but saves room for long-time fan favourites such as a savoury scallion flatbread served with housemade stracciatella cheese. The small and large plate menu format gives plenty of options for pairs who want to try a little bit of everything, as well as those who believe that separate entrees are the secret to harmonious coupledom.

Dining in the restaurant: The long, narrow space is decorated simply with lots of wood and plant life, creating a home-like ambiance that’s a natural match for the warmth of Chen’s menu.

Takeout: The full menu is available for delivery and takeout. The prix-fixe experiences are an excellent choice for first-time diners who want to get a varied taste of Chen’s culinary creativity. 

Gare de L’Est (Leslieville)

Credit: Gare de L’Est

Gare de L’Est’s name is a nod to Paris’s historic train station, as well as the restaurant’s location in Toronto’s east end. The menu, tailormade for a romantic rendezvous, brings a local, seasonal influence to traditional French brasserie fare with dishes such as steak frites with pan-roasted 8-ounce Ontario striploin, or cod stew with Fogo Island shrimp. Gare de L’Est often unveils set menus for holidays and special occasions, showcasing the restaurant’s greatest hits. 

Dining in the restaurant: With concrete floors and exposed overhead pipes, the restaurant has a subtly industrial feel that tips a hat to its namesake. Blue velvet banquettes are perfect for sitting side by side, while an open kitchen, framed by Carrara marble, amplifies the elegance.

Takeout: Choose from a selection of make-at-home meal kits and restaurant-made dishes as part of the online shop for Ascari Hospitality Group, the restaurant’s parent company.  

Harbour Sixty (South Core)

With a grand setting in the restored turn-of-the-century Harbour Commission building and a menu centred on USDA prime beef, Harbour Sixty stands for the quintessential steakhouse date night experience. The menu offers old-school steakhouse fare done right, from seafood towers to New York strip and Japanese wagyu steaks, along with fancied-up sides like lobster mashed potato and white truffle mac and cheese. 

Dining in the restaurant: The seductive three-floor space is decked out in a rich colour palette of plum, black, and cream. From the Italian crystal lights in the formal dining room to a bar with mother-of-pearl wall details, the restaurant is filled with ornate accents. 

Takeout: If you prefer to tuck into your tomahawk for two at home, the full menu is available for delivery and takeout. 

Ten (Brockton Village)

Dining experiences don’t get much more intimate than Brockton Village’s Ten, which takes its name from the number of seats perched by its inviting open kitchen. While not exclusively vegetarian, chef Julian Bentivegna’s multi-course tasting menus are produce-centric, aiming to showcase the wonderful bounty that grows in Southern Ontario. Floor your date by mentioning that the restaurant’s influence goes beyond its noteworthy fare — Bentivegna recently co-founded a network of community fridges in Toronto. 

Dining in the restaurant: Ten’s tiny interior exudes effortless elegance. Seats are lined along a dramatically-illuminated open kitchen, which features gleaming stainless steel countertops and a whitewashed brick wall backdrop. As part of its commitment to providing more equitable conditions for its staff, the restaurant charges a flat service fee rather than presenting a tip option.

Takeout: This restaurant does not offer takeout.

Avling (Leslieville)

Credit: Avling

This pretty East End brewpub focuses on fresh Canadian fare, with many ingredients grown onsite in a 4,000 square-foot rooftop garden. The hyper locally sourced bounty (the bar also contains an in-house butcher) enhances a menu of casual, approachable dishes, ideal for a more casual date. Feast on the creamy swiss chard melt, served alongside a pile of fries, and a selection of other comforting dishes designed to complement Avling’s house-brewed beers, many of which also rotate seasonally.

Dining in the restaurant: Avling’s bright, high-ceiled space is painted in lovely pastel hues, softening more industrial elements like polished terrazzo floors. The walls feature picturesque conversation starters — colourful murals by Toronto artist Madison van Rijn — and the circular central bar is awash in deep blue.

Takeout: Much of the restaurant’s menu is available for takeout and delivery, along with meal kits.

Bar Isabel (Little Italy)

Little Italy’s much-loved Spanish tapas restaurant skillfully blends traditional small plates with chef Grant van Gameren’s passion for nose-to-tail cooking. Order as many as you can fit on the restaurant’s primarily petite, bistro-style tables, from simple but delicious house-made bread and olive oil to whole grilled octopus and platters of tender jamón. The nibbly dishes pair perfectly with flirty banter, and an exceptionally well-curated selection of beer, wine, and cocktails that consistently turns the heads of seasoned drink aficionados. Keep an eye out for experiences like prix-fixe menus or special a la carte holiday items. 

Dining in the restaurant: Bar Isabel’s eye-catching interior design channels Barcelona’s tapas bars. The transportive space hums with conversation, evoking an old-world European ambiance with easy-going vibes, curved wooden archways, and sexy red lighting.

Takeout: The full menu is available for pick-up and delivery, including a heat-at-home version of its popular basque cake with sherry cream. 

Baro (King West)

This lively King West restaurant tingles tastebuds with dishes that draw culinary inspiration from all across Latin America. Much of the menu is made for sharing, including the reimagined OG duck chaufa, a riff on the Peruvian dish arroz chaufa, featuring delicately caramelized fried rice mixed with duck confit, edamame, and chile, served in a heated stone bowl. The drink menu includes classic cocktails, as well as creative house concoctions that mirror the food’s Latin American flavours.

Dining in the restaurant: The multi-level space features multiple eating and drinking areas some of which are more geared toward partying than dining but the plant-fringed main dining room, with soft lighting and cozy booths, is where the romance potential is the strongest.

Takeout: This restaurant does not offer takeout.